Florida Vacation
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Story and Photos by, David Brill

Florida Vacation

Saturday dawned, bright and gorgeous! Weather forecast was for that and more of it. We all lined up and hit the pavement towards our date with dirt. There were about 30 rigs ready to go.

We had heard earlier that some beavers had been busy down near the infamous mud hole. Adrian Dognin and Bill Myers rolled out to the hole on Friday night to see what had been done. They surveyed the dam situation and decided that nothing could be done about the beavers, especially since they are a protected species in MA. The mud hole was reported to be about 3-4 feet deep and mostly water. We would cross that hole when we got to it.

Jim Lambert
Jim Lambert in his '97 TJ on "The Skewer"

Ben Cadley
Ben Cadley guides his Wrangler through.

After everyone had aired down, we hit the trailhead. Florida Road is a fun trail rated about a 7 on a 1-10 scale. A "stock" rig will have a rather difficult time of it. With stock rigs including limited slip and locking diffs. with 30" or larger tires. Stock is almost a relative term, though. The trail is all rocks and boulders with a few stair step climbs and, of course, the one mud hole at the end.

The first obstacle is rather easy if taken off to the left, but when a right-hand route is chosen, a 3-foot tall boulder and a lean into a sheer cliff-face await you.

All that chose the right-hand route made it with only a little scraping, except Jerry Rouvrais, who leaned a bit too far and started to bugger up his roll bar and padding. Deciding to keep the rear-end damage minimal for the insurance adjuster (they were rear-ended on their way up to the run), they winched up over the obstacle.

Dave Cleary
Dave Cleary heading up the left side of the first obstacle.

As I mentioned earlier, Florida Road is mostly rock. We all crawled and scraped our way along to what is considered the second "real" obstacle. It is entirely possible to get hung up anywhere on the trail and need a tug or a spotter but there are at least 3 spots that give most people the most fun. The second is a two step climb. Again, the left is generally easier and the right has two options; straight up or up over a boulder, along a thin edge and then up over the steps at a bit of an angle. Either of the right hand routes will flex up your suspension. The left is a little more level and with some rock stacking (taken out before the next rig) a "stocker" can make it through.

Note goes to Justin Morgenthau for some great driving and the ability to listen to his spotter. There were points when Justin wasn't even watching the rocks while Chris Smith was giving him the directions. Justin was driving a stock ZR2 Blazer with the 31" BFG's and Gov. Lok).

There were only a couple of minor problems. Derek was now having front-end noises and chose to roll back to camp. Tim Welch in a nicely done early Bronco also had some front-end situations (a busted hub or twisted axle, not sure which it ended up being) and Dan Stra had trouble with his hubs too.

Tommy "Got Mud" Muzio was waiting for the mud hole. He said that it didn't matter how deep it was, he was taking his cow-spotted white CJ-5, with 35" BFG's, a Lock-Right and an anemic 4-cylinderl flat-head right down the center! He had a motor at home waiting to go in so if he smoked this one it was no big deal.

Jerry Rouvrais
Jerry Roubrais lifting a tire and leaning back against the face on "The Skewer."

After testing the level and finding it to be DEEP, we opted for the left-hand, optional route. Adrian Dognin dropped into the water, however, off to the left of center and proceeded to drive across with no problems. He has a Wrangler with Q78 (36.5x10.5) Swampers, ARB's front and rear, NP435, gears, winch, etc.. Go figure!

Up next was Tommy. He promptly stripped down into a bathing suit (he came prepared), stood on the bumper, struck a few poses and fired up the cowbeast.

Tommy Muzio
Tommy Muzio strikes his poze.

Derek's wife, Diane, would ride shotgun and uphold Derek's nick-name, Muddy Mud Skipper. Tommy fired the flat-head 4 to life and, sounding like one powerful sewing machine, plunged into the center. He traveled further than anyone thought he would, including himself. At the point of "no more movement" the nose dropped in on the driver side up over the headlight, water poured in and Diane went very quickly to the roll bar.

Tommy climbed out, hooked up the winch cable and was pulled out, the motor still running! The motor didn't blow up for another 2 weeks!

The mud hole is the last item of interest on Florida Road, so we headed back to the campground. Dinner and showers were then enjoyed by all. Not at the same time, of course.

It also happened to be Ben Cadley's birthday. The antics up at the Pub lasted until closing and, suffice to say, there are wheelers who are just as good at dancing and some who aren't even close. Ben Cadley caught most of it on tape. If you want to see it, be at our Christmas party this December or at Eastern 4 Wheeler's Florida Vacation next year and LIVE it!

Sunday's Run


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